AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) - New experiences can be life-changing and emotional at any age. Whether it is a toddler walking for the first time, a child riding a bike without training wheels, or a 56-year-old woman hearing her family loud and clear for the first time.
The sound of a car driving by, or hearing the voice of a spouse like never before. They are just some of the daily occurrences in our life we tend to take for granted because most of us can hear. But it is a new experience for Champaigne Thomas after decades of near silence.
"People don't realize how much they're missing. Just like Champaigne walked outside and thought the traffic was the wind. She just hadn't heard it in so long, she didn't realize what it was," said Stephanie Grawunder with Miracle-Ear.
"I was born deaf in the right ear and in the left ear," said Thomas. "I remember when I was about nine or 10 years old, they did surgery to try to get me to hear but I never could hear. As I was growing up, I went to a deaf school and I still couldn't hear. So, I've been struggling with this hearing loss almost all my life."
It was not only a struggle for her but it impacted the entire family as well.
"She would have to bring me along to help her hear when going to stores, and even going to my school to talk to teachers, I would have to help her," said Thomas' granddaughter, Alina. "I would have to repeat everything they would say. I guess I was a little more emotional with my grandmother than I was with my grandpa because he's had hearing but it was just a little low."
The Miracle-Ear Foundation gave her a new hearing aid along with lifetime care. You could say this is a blessed family because last month her husband received the same treatment from the same foundation.
Since the creation of the Miracle-Ear Foundation in 1990, the organization has provided more than 16,000 hearing aids to more than 9,100 people across the U.S. Today, the Thomas family was added to the list.
Grawunder said they try to provide free care and aide at least once a month for people in need.
To get free hearing aids, she said all you have to do is apply, meet certain financial criteria, and get approved.
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